EXCLUSIVE Laser Corporation Vs The Crest Company Employee Stoush, ‘Not About JB Hi Fi’
Sydney based distributor Laser Corporation is facing potential legal action after they allegedly poached three staff from Brisbane based distributor The Crest Company, some insiders claim it is part of an effort to get traction inside JB Hi Fi and The Good Guys, Laser is denying the claims.
According to sources the key executive at the centre of the stoush is former Crest Sales Manager Michael Tompkins who ChannelNews understands has a “no compete” clause in his contract with the Brisbane based distributor who has major contracts with several major retailers including Wesfarmers owned stores, Big W and The JB Hi Fi Group.
Laser Corporation CEO Chris Lau admits that Laser had discussions with Tomkins but denies categorically that as of this week he has no official contract with Tomkins to join Laser Corporation despite Tomkins telling people close to him that he is joining the Laser Corporation.
“We held discussions with Tomkins, but we have not hired him. He was one of several people that we have spoken to”.
When asked whether the hiring of Tomkins was based on a strategy to grow their business at JB Hi Fi Lau said “This is not our intent or our strategy”.
Tomkins joined The Crest Company from E3 a former supplier to retailers who ended up in a legal fight with The Crest Company and lost three years ago.
Last year Tompkins told people close to him that he had held discussions with Sydney based distributor Tempo while still employed at the Brisbane based distributor.
The Crest Company who are not frightened of a legal fight have told people that Tompkins has a clause in his contract with them that prevents him from working for a competitor and that they will, take legal action to prevent the immediate employment of Tomkins at any Company that is a competitor.
Insiders are telling ChannelNews that the hiring is all about Laser Corporation looking to increase their product ranging at JB Hi Fi owned stores.
We understand that Crest has already replaced Tompkins position at the Company with Tomkins being placed on gardening leave when he told Crest management that he was leaving.
Laser Corporation have also hired Alister Shakes a former product manager at JB Hi Fi who joined Crest as their Product & Range Architect. Shakes was due to work alongside Tomkins at Laser Corporation.
Earlier this year Laser Corporation hired Liam O’Reilly to restructure their China based buying office after O’Reilly was let go by The Crest Company as part of a restructure of their China operation.
At the time Laser CEO Chris Lau claimed that he was doing record business with Harvey Norman and Big W, there was no mention of JB Hi Fi.
They also announced that they hired former Belkin and Cellnet executive Jo Fraser as National Business Manager.
Laser has also promoted from within, with company veteran Ron Hilario being promoted to General Manager of Sales.
Michael Edgson the CEO of The Crest Company refused to comment when contacted by ChannelNews.